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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis
last edited on Friday, July 15, 2005, 12:59 AM, CDST

Phenomenon

No one told me the man on channel 13, KERA, the painter had died 2 years ago and that his show had gone into syndication. Lymphoma Cancer killed him. Is that what eternity means? Living in digital form for those who continue to watch you, you remain somehow, eternally alive? When I look at an old Humphrey Bogart movie I watch it as if it is really happening and I merely forget, although briefly, that Bogart is dust by now, but when I watch old movies I feel as if I am sharing in their experience.

That same phenomenon occurs when one reads a good book. Like Mark Twain's  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and when I read history books about the Roman Empire it's as if I have been flown or projected back into ancient history to relive a life I really never knew. But, what of the realization of Mom and Dad's death? Somehow, I can't bring myself to look at old home movies with pictures of Mom and Dad without feeling a deep feeling of sorrow and loss.

Anthony put down his pen and discontinued his daily diary for the moment, to have time for coffee and to water and feed the sparrows and the Jays the  grackles and the robins in the back yard. And with the 2 rather fruitful peach trees, Anthony had the nagging acquaintance of several local squirrels who turned a potential peach pie fest into a grave yard of dead and pecked at peaches, then the huge black grackles finished the fallen peach parts off during the course of the rest of the day.

It was summer again, in Big D Dallas Texas and that meant running both window units all day and most of the night until late August. Anthony's sisters lived in Michigan and Indiana and they were rather lucky not to be in the hot zone of Dallas during the 3 months of summer between June and August. In fact, up there in those 2 states, that he was once a visitor and even once lived as a boy, there were wide sidewalks and brisk winds and cool night air and seldom any heavy traffic in the rural sections of the states.

Another member of Anthony's family, his step son, lived in Athens Georgia, where the phenomenon of big city life was just beginning to creep into the major cities, but not in the little town of Athens, perhaps close enough to Atlanta, the big city, that memories of Dallas haunted his step son occasionally.

An air plane flew over head, or was it a helicopter? Anthony was reminded of the September eleventh 2001 attack on New York City's Twin Towers aka World Trade Center and remembered when Bush declared Operation Noble Eagle and jet fighters flew in groups or squadrons from South to North at Mach 2 or greater, alerting all that either Down Town Dallas was about to be hit by terrorists or that they were our guys, which of course, they were, but it did send a panic in many people.

Walking around the streets of Oak Cliff, Anthony saw a change in the air. A change like nothing he had ever known in his life since  1965. There were more Hispanics living in Oak Cliff now than all of Dallas just 10 years before. Instead of Minyard Grocery Store, the name was changed to Carnival, and instead of Austin's Barbecue being the main eating place and coffee drinking hang out for the old folk of Oak Cliff, there was just an Eckerd Drug Store a very large parking lot, a relocated Guaranty Bank and the only thing that remained was located in the upper north east corner of the lot, a group of 3 or 4 bars that looked so out of place from the new look but yet reminded Anthony of the way it once used to be that it was as if there existed a parallax in time where 2 generations collided and converged into a singular place Anthony referred to as the desolation lot 2002.

The Dallas Public Library was still there where it had stood for over 3 decades and right up the shopping center, where the Mott's Dime store used to be was a Hispanic pool hall. and instead of there being a Bilo, or a Kroger or even a Sears store, they were all gone for good, gone and replaced by a huge Hispanic grocery store called Jerry's.
Outside one of the shops along the path of the center was a boom box and 2 speakers playing at high volume for all to hear like it or not, Tejano music.

Down to the lake, Mountain Creek Lake, instead of there being trees and  walk paths and many people having a good time, a huge military cemetery was built facing West towards a lake side scene devoid of trees and full of huge monster like towers that carry the millions of volts that are needed to keep most of Oak Cliff running. One time, when Anthony was just a teen ager, he and his neighbor friend would ride bikes down to the lake and just hand out a while and ride back home and recall how nice and blue the water on the lake surface looked and even Mom and Dad would take the family for an occasional picnic there, back in the 1960's, when at that time drunkard creeps didn't hang out there and viscious murderers did not hang out looking for innocent prey.

Today, you wouldn't see Anthony caught dead at Mountain Creek Lake, and besides since the 1980's, Anthony and a friend went on a trip to Lake Michigan on the side of Wisconsin and for just a few very special hours Anthony felt the cool breeze of a July wind over the waters of Lake Michigan facing East toward Michigan's Southern Peninsula and at just past sun down at around 9:30 PM, the temperature dropped a chilly 59 degrees, at such time a sweater and a hot cup of coffee were the best thing to have at your immediate disposal, even though his friend didn't care because all he wanted was to get to the Rainbow Festival and forget all about this so called moment of contemplation.



 



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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis








 
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